Sunday, May 09, 2010

Super mega Albiceleste post to start a key week

The day after Martín DEMICHELIS lifted the Bundesliga shield whilst Lio MESSI and Gonzalo HIGUAIN scored the go-ahead goals for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, more Argentine players put their hands on some European silverware; one striker kept on scoring and another received a prestigious personal award; MARADONA made a TV appearance and the Argentine Clausura saw one of the players that will surely make it to the World Cup, lose his head.


It was coming for Benfica. After we witnessed the end of a dynasty in France, with Olympique Marseille taking the title from the other Olympique, after the Lyonnais had taken home the last seven editions of Ligue 1, this time it happened in Portugal. With Lucho and Licha gone from Porto, Benfica took advantage of their very own Albiceleste and South American contingent to win the league after the four consecutive titles won by the Dragons.

Pablo AIMAR (4 goals in 29 matches), Angel DI MARIA (6 in 30) and Javier SAVIOLA (12 in 31) and to a lesser extent José SHAFFER (who played in 4 matches before moving on loan to Banfield back in Argentina) have helped Benfica obtain their 32nd league title in Portugal.
But while DI MARIA represents a safe bet to make it to the World Cup, SAVIOLA has never been called up by MARADONA and it'll be a major shock if he is named in the list of 30 and Pablo AIMAR seems to be behind Javier PASTORE in Diego's consideration, though he still has chances of making it.


In Italy, Inter flirted with clinching their fifth consecutive Serie A title by beating Chievo Verona 4-3.

Esteban CAMBIASSO sent them ahead 2-1 with an exquisite first-time left-footed volley and he refuses to stop fighting for a place in Diego's heart.

Diego MILITO, in the meantime, doesn't have a big media campaign on his side or a company to ask him to score from one building to another, but he keeps doing what he does best and he keeps forcing MARADONA to call him up. Very quietly and with a low profile that could turn out to be his undoing, he keeps banging in the goals and if I said CAMBIASSO's volley was exquisite...what's the adjective for MILITO's chip?

Roma defeated Cagliari 2-1 with a late brace from Francesco TOTTI and both teams will have everything to play for next weekend. Whatever happens, the Serie A trophy will be touched by Argentine hands as Inter has four first team starters and Roma has Nicolás BURDISSO.


The other striker I mentioned in the first paragraph that has won a personal award is Lisandro LOPEZ. His Olympique Lyonnais side will be fighting for a place in next season's Champions League next week. But on Sunday he was voted by his fellow footballers as the best player in Ligue 1 this season. Lisandro beat midfielder Eden HAZARD (Lille), forward Marouane CHAMAKH (Bordeaux on his way to Arsenal) and striker Mamadou NIANG (Olympique Marseille)

Lisandro had already won the Portuguese League Player of the Year Award in the 2007-2008 season.

Ignored by MARADONA since that double-header v. Brazil and Paraguay, I read today in Olé that apparently he could be considered at least for the list of 30 players that will be announced on Tuesday. Whether that's true or not...we just need to wait and see.

Lisandro himself said: "My chances are very slim. I don't expect to be called up".


Diego MARADONA made an appearance at a very popular TV show (not related to sport) and he spoke about many things, but the one that touched me was when he said: "Ten days ago, it's been 6 years since I last did drugs".

It was an emotional moment and it was sincere and honest.

I've said it many times. I love MARADONA, even though sometimes he makes me furious with some of the things he does or says as a manager, and I only want good things to happen to him. So this is a great achievement for him, perhaps the most difficult one he managed in his life.

Diego referred to the day in which he was left out of the 1978 World Cup squad by César Luis MENOTTI. He was 18 at that time and he said he cried all the way from the training ground to his home. He can't forget (or forgive) that moment and he said (very rightfully so) that he knows what is going through his players' minds.

"These days, it's very difficult for me to choose between all the players we've got. They are all playing very well" said Diego and concluded, "We've got the players, I've got the desire to work with them. And after beating Germany in Germany, things changed. Everybody knows that you can't underestimate Argentina".

MARADONA also said him and his players will start working on May 20 ahead of the friendly at the Monumental (May 24) v. Canada. He will give the players a couple of days off after the Canada match and then they'll fly straight to Pretoria in South Africa.


Last, but not least, the title race in Argentina is on fire. Estudiantes de La Plata got to the penultimate week of the season with a one-point advantage over Argentinos Juniors and five points clear of Godoy Cruz and Independiente.

Juan Sebastian VERON, Clemente RODRIGUEZ and José SOSA, all players very much in Diego's mind for the list of 30 (and quite possibly the World Cup squad of 23) could have given Estudiantes the league title with a win combined with a defeat for Argentinos Juniors. Marcos ANGELERI was on the bench and Diego hinted his chances of making it to the World Cup has been all but destroyed by the serious injury he suffered a few months ago (knee ligaments). Is this great news for Javier ZANETTI?

Argentinos were trailing 3-1 at home to Independiente (with a goal from a corner-kick included) after leading 1-0 and there were only 15 minutes to play, but Estudiantes were showing no signs of scoring the single goal that would have given them the title. It was a bad afternoon for the team from La Plata as Juan Sebastian VERON saw the red card for a hit on Martín RIVERO's face in front of referee Federico BELIGOY.

The draw for Estudiantes was not that bad a result considering Independiente had all three points in the bag against Argentinos, but then...this was what happened (check out the result on the top-left corner and have in mind that ST means 'Segundo Tiempo' (Second Half) and I apologize for the horrible commentator who annoys me to no end!)

The guy who scored the last goal for Argentinos is Matías CARUZZO, who has been called up several times for the 'Domestic Argentina' and he scored against Adrián GABBARINI (who Diego said was playing for a place in the World Cup squad in these Clausura last two matches). Would CARUZZO be considered by Diego after this? And what about GABBARINI, conceding three goals against Boca Juniors last week and four v. Argentinos Juniors on Sunday? Before these last two weeks, he had kept nine clean sheets and conceded only 11 goals in 16 matches. Alarms all over him right now.

One player that did his best to stay with chances was Juan MERCIER who had a monster game in midfield, especially in those dying minutes when Argentinos Juniors were pushing for a miraculous comeback.

As it stands, Argentinos Juniors are in the driver's seat and top of the table with 38 points to Estudiantes' 37 with only one match to go (Argentinos visit Huracán and Estudiantes will travel without VERON to Santa Fé to face Colón).

One curious note? MARADONA was in attendance for this match played at the Diego Armando MARADONA stadium! But he left early, before Argentinos Juniors, his maiden club, made that remarkable comeback in those dying minutes.


Anonymous said...

Id rather have aimar then veron. Veron is good... but when he has bad games... its terrible. horrible passing and attitude. atleast with aimar if he has a bad day its just not seeing him much. instead of screwing up the entire team

Mohd said...

Sebastian -->

will the list be released end on Tuesday or as i have heard end of Monday (so will be available Tuesday morning)?

on the other hand, any news in the local media about Banega? it always amazes me how media in Argentina almost never backs up the right players...

salvio supporter said...

Verón has been very polemic lately, I guess it's that darn yogurt. First it was the completely uncalled declarations against Argentinos' stadium, which were followed by a similarly "bitter" answer by Borghi. Now this stupid red card. He's been acting strange for a while. Maybe he considers the Clausura to be lost (and it wasn't, exactly), and prefers to focus on the Libertadores, and the even more important WC. But this wasn't the correct way. And it's just a week there's left for the tournament to finish.

By the way, I agree with the first anonymous. At first I wasn't sure if Verón was going to do well, but I accepted him because of his fine skills and unique experience. But now that we're less than one month from IT, I begin to fell some vertigo, and I wish Aimar, who did as expected against Perú, at least, were in the starting line-up instead of Verón. He's not fifteen anymore either, it's not that we're talking about a young and unexperienced Aimar. But Maradona has been very negligent with taking this decission. I don't know what to think.

And Diego may be clean now, but he's unable to keep an interesting conversation. Susana Gimenez is the worst interviewer ever, and Maradona the worst interviewed ever. And still, we have to get our clues on what's gonna happen from this.

On Angeleri: is this the second time he gets injured? Or is it the same injury he suffered during qualifiers? Because if this is the second time, it should have been very predictable that he wasn't gonna make it to the world cup just as he got injured. At least, if you're going to call Zanetti because you need him to cover a position (which is insulting enough considering Zanetti everlasting quality), call him up immediately after Angeleri's injury. I don't understand why they waited so long to discard him. And poor Angeleri, I like him a lot.

Why is world so unfair that the big H never gets injured.

Sebastian said...

The short answer to that last question would be: "Because the Big H is the one kicking the hell out of all the other players" hahaha!

Mohd...the list will be announced sometime during Tuesday and I'm trying to establish exactly at what time. My gut feeling is that it won't be before noon Buenos Aires. See...the deadline, according to what I read somewhere from is 'midnight GMT', which gives Diego time to sleep until noon (hihi) and then announce it to the press at a conference at the AFA Ezeiza headquarters. So I'm leaning towards a 5 or 6 PM Buenos Aires (maybe a bit earlier) on Tuesday ( for your time-zone calculation).

BANEGA not being mentioned much by the press? That's a curious one, because after all he DID play for Boca Juniors (and that seems to be a huge factor for that). I guess Ever was never a player that sold a lot of papers and he doesn't play up front so he doesn't score and he almost never gets a mention.

Gotta say that his reputation as a head-case (well earned, in my opinion) has worked against him. If it wasn't for that...

Salvio_supporter: Regarding ANGELERI, I think he only got injured once. It was the amount of time spent on the sidelines trying to make a comeback what played against his chances. I'm not aware of a second injury.

As for Susana-Diego. I agree in that Susana is the worst interviewer ever. I got to watch the second half of that interview and it wasn't a proper interview, of course.

But have in mind it's a show for the mothers and the grandmothers. They don't care about our FB, our midfielders and how many forwards we bring. That's why the conversation didn't touch base on many of the things we would have killed for to hear.

I actually made that comment to my wife as we were watching it. I said: "What a waste! She gets to have serious time on air with Diego and she doesn't know what or how to ask!"

But I think Diego chose Susana's show for a reason and that's exactly it. No compromising questions. No uncomfortable players' names mentioned. It wasn't a football conversation.

If anything, it was a good opportunity to get to see Diego as a man, rather than as Argentina manager.

And finally, about VERON. I don't think he thought the league was lost. In fact, I don't think he sees it that way even now after they lost control of their own destiny and need Argentinos to drop points.

I believe he never thought he would have seen the red card in that moment.

There was a controversy because Héctor BALDASSI (the Argentine referee that will go to South Africa) was appointed to call Estudiantes v. Rosario Central but pulled out because of a stomach flu. Instead of him, the appointed referee was Federico BELIGOY with whom VERON has a long history.

So now a bunch of Estudiantes players are saying it was a harsh red card (are they serious???) and they are saying people don't want Estudiantes to do well.

In my opinion, Seba deserved to be red-carded and I believe he's probably having more troubles than me to go to sleep (I think I have my time-zone affected by my son's ability to make me sleep at all the wrong hours! Otherwise...what am I doing writing this at 5 AM?).

One thing is for sure...if it wasn't for him, Estudiantes wouldn't be the dominant team they are. Wouldn't be the Copa Libertadores holders and wouldn't be in contention to win another league title after the one they won in 2006.

A hot moment, anybody can have it. Yes, it struck me because it came from someone with a lot of experience and it shouldn't have happened to him.

I still think his presence will benefit Argentina more than it will affect us in the World Cup.

Mohd said...


do not agree with you about Veron. i think his presence will be damaging. however, i do not think it will be him to will be maradona.

because i can never see maradona taking him out when he is having a bad game. maradona is stubborn, he chose veron and he will never take him out although veron tends to have either great games or horrible ones..rarely average. that's why i want players like Banega and Pastore. but even then i am afraid maradona will risk the complete WC in favor of sticking to his opinion.

regarding banega, he should have sold a lot of newspapers...after all masturbating on web cams is usually a selling point :)

DMAN said...

Just dont want ot offend anyone, but there are Championships and championships.

I mean, people like Zanetti, Cambiasso,Samuel and Milito are making Inter FC winning : Uefa Champion's League, Italy Cup and Serie A.

To dont convocate players like them is like to dont want to win the World Cup.
Argentinian Championship and Portughese could be difficult cups too, but... c'mon, players like the one I listed up aren't so common in football.
If Italy could convocte them the cup could really be ours :)

An Italian Inter Fan ;)

johnny said...

I had the great fortune to attend the match between Argentinos Juniors and Independiente yesterday. What a great match and great finish ! Due to a huge stroke of luck I was able to meet the president of Argentinos Juniors, get a tour of the press room, the visitors locker room, the new museum, and best of all, stand on the pitch and look up at the frenzied Argentinos fans, who were still locked in and celebrating like crazy. Argentinos Juniors now firmly my second favorite team in Buenos Aires !

LaTiNo said...

@DMAN: you guys already have Camoranesi and won the WC in 2006 because of that ok, so don't touch these 4 players ;)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Diego Milito has averaged .54 goals per game over 11 seasons. A very respectable goal rate when considering Milito has not stayed with a club for more than three consecutive seasons since leaving Racing. In fact, Milito has averaged .08 more goals per game to date than Gonzalo Higuain. The fact that Milito has scored only 4 goals in 21 matches for Argentina is troubling, without doubt to Milito himself. Nonetheless, as a critical observer of Milito I attest that he can score in any setting.

Sebastian said...

And I would add to that about MILITO that he didn't play a single complete match in the last WCQ campaign. Those 21 matches are really close to 20 appearances as a sub and probably the remaining was one start and then he got replaced by half-time.

I'm puzzled by this situation and I feel gutted because there's nothing I can do!

DMAN said...

Yes, I understand the past stats, but now Milito is the best Serie A player, if he will win the cup could be the best of all C.league, so....
Then this season Zanetti made one of his best championships with strenght and quality, and Cambiasso here is considered from years the best midfieldier of Serie A.
By the way I hope you'll do well in the cup but if not you know the reasons...

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